The Alliance for Development and Industrialization, (ADI), has described the position taken by the Minority in Parliament as very unfortunate over the funds allocated for the tourism industry purposely for capacity building of personnel in the hospitality industry and branding of the sector.
According to the project paper document from the World Bank and available to ADI, there is the need for nationwide branding of the tourism sector to make it more attractive as well as training centres to enhance their work.
“If you have not read the full project paper document, please don’t make noise over attempts by the government to put the tourism sector into international standard”, ADI cautions the Minority.
The project paper from the World Bank stipulates that part of the fund would be used for tourism skills development purposely to Identify and implement a suitable business model for tourism training facility(ies) that guarantees experienced management and sustainable funding, provide support for the development of the necessary curriculum, standards, assessments, accreditation processes for tourism, and other public goods, and the training and up skilling of tourism and hospitality teachers and trainers.
It would also be used for Aviation and visa policy in attracting domestic and international air travel operators, develop and implement streamlined competitive visa systems that are conducive to the development of leisure and business tourism, including a review and cost-benefit analysis of aviation and entry visa policies .
For the Tourism branding and marketing is aimed at developing and implementing a comprehensive national marketing, promotion, and branding strategy and action plan that will include an innovative and cost-effective digital component, and clearly identified tactics for key segments and product packages—for example, weekend getaways, cultural tours, and safaris.
ADI has cautioned the Ministry to consider local content as a key driver in this and should not award the contracts to international consultants.
According to the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), international tourist arrivals rose from 580,000 in 2007 to 980,141 in 2017, though driven primarily by the growth of business tourism. International tourism receipts also increased from US$879 million in 2007 to US$1,800 million in 2017, with tourists spending on average US$1,892 per visit in 2017. Tourism, especially high-end leisure and ecotourism, is already having a positive impact on jobs and community income around the parks (such as Kakum and Mole), and has demonstrated economic benefits for Ghana’s coastal areas, such as Elmina and Takoradi.
This is expected to increase tremendously when the Ministry with the new credit facility approved to the sector ministry.
The government intends to spend $10 million of a $40 million facility it received from the World Bank for capacity building, while spending another $4 million of the fund for branding.
According to the Ministry, the lack of training of personnel in the hospitality industry has resulted in the delivery of poor services to guests and has negatively affected the country’s image as a preferred tourism destination.
Part of the fund will be put into building two training institutions in the Eastern and Western Regions which will be dedicated to training personnel for the tourism industry.
According to the report by the committee, “The Hon. Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts explained that the facility will be applied to set up two training institutions in the Eastern and Western Regions dedicated to training personnel for service delivery in the Tourism Industry.
She indicated that the level of education expertise and experience of practitioners in the Tourism Industry in Ghana is low as compared to what pertains in other African countries that compete with Ghana”
The Minority in Parliament, is, however, questioning the allocation by the government.
It insists that the $10 million and $4 million allocation for capacity building and branding respectively is not justifiable.